A Lesson on Anime from a Parent who loves Anime…

I’ve been an anime otaku (enthusiast/addict) for most of my life.  My first encounter with anime, and I was not aware it was called that back then, was when I was about 5 or 6 years old.  Voltes V, Mazinger Z and Daimos were my first animes as with most people my age. We are called the Martial Law babies because we were born during the time when Martial Law was in effect in our country…but enough about that.

Children today have no idea what anime went through in this country. Today, anime is as common to them as their computers or video games or even their cellular phones. But anime suffered a big set back in this country in the late 70s when it was banned.  Yes, banned! It started with Voltes V but the others soon followed… this was under Martial Law, and the next decade all we had were cartoons from the US.

Then in 1989 anime made a come back in our country. Slowly but surely, anime began to take hold of the young people’s attention. It wasn’t until 1998 however that anime exploded and gained incredible grounds. This was all due to one kick ass anime – Yuyu Hakusho.

Being an avid otaku, I am thrilled with the proliferation of anime in this country. I encourage it, not only on my own children (my husband is an otaku such as myself) but also on other young people who just entered into the fold. But being a parent and having slowly matured and transitioned with anime over the years I guess I became so much more aware of it and all its eccentricities.

We are often told that as parents we must monitor what our children watches or does on the computer…sadly very few people  heed that plea. But WE REALLY SHOULD. When we see our kids watching anime…remember that these are not just plain cartoons as we were used to watching way back in the 80s. Unlike most animation videos, anime has different genres that we as parents must be aware of but must also keep an open-mind.

What I found out from associating with other parents who were anime fans like we were is that we are a lot more broad-minded with what our children can watch but also a lot more careful at letting them watch certain animes.

Like movies, animes are multi-themed and are directed at certain type of audiences. However, they are more free-spirited and therefore contain certain materials that we will not see on ordinary cartoons. Yes, anime has deeper plots and has so much more value but there are also animes that in my opinion on those with matured minds should watch and I am not talking here only of hentais (x-rated animes).

At a certain point, teenagers will be curious about hentai and that is only natural especially if they’re anime fans. It’s inevitable..they will come across the genre during the course of their fascination with anime. And as parents we must learn to cope with that and deal with it, by being open to them and letting them know that we understand and explain to them the reason why we would rather not have them watching those type of animes before they are 16 or older. I do believe that if you have a good relationship with your child it’ll work to talk things out with them. It’s not gonna be easy but it’s better than flat out telling them they can’t watch it or pretending you didn’t see. Hubby and I actually went so far as to toss a coin to decide who would talk to the boys about it…incidentally, I lost.

But as I said I was not referring to hentai when I said that there are animes that are better left to mature individuals especially those who have matured into anime already. Here applies the Japanese principle of Omote (outer) and Ura (inner) thoughts. It’s the front and back; what you let people see and know and that part of you that is kept hidden…orif you want to take it one step further it can be your Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

As there are plenty of well made and extremely good anime which are children and teenager safe (hahaha!) there are also animes that are…well, Mr. Hyde. Good thing though that they are only a few of them. These animes, for which I will not give any titles, should be kept from your children because there just too much violence and sex in them. And this statement is coming from someone who you grew up and grew old with anime. My tolerance for sex and violence is I guess quite broad but even I could balked at letting my teenagers watch these anime. Maybe when they get older….hopefully, around 40 (*smiles*) they can get to watch things like these but not while they are young and impressionable.

So, my plea to parents please get to know your children and get to know what they like, what they watch on TV and what they do in the computer. It pays to be informed and it’s not invading their privacy…it’s protecting their future.

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